RISE: A Conference for Women in Engineering – September 16th

Join fellow young alumni and students for a professional development day. Hear and learn from women of influence and leaders from the engineering industry!

We are excited to let you know that RISE: A Conference for Women in Engineering is back this year and will be held on Saturday, September 16 in the School of Engineering. The conference is targeted to women in engineering (undergrad students, grad students and young alumni) but all are welcome to attend (you don’t have to be a student in engineering)!

Be sure to register TODAY/ASAP! (Registration closes on Sept. 14).

MG360 and FracMan

FracMan code is the worlds first commercially available DFN (Discrete Fractured Network) software. Golder created this software to support the need for advanced technology to analyze complex fractured rock systems (FracMan, 2021). 

FracMan has been widely used in consultancy to solve problems related to civil and infrastructure, mining, oil/gas and renewable energies, as well as power and nuclear waste. However, the applications and capabilities of FracMan extend well beyond the use in consulting and industry. Here at MG360, our research has greatly benefitted from using FracMan to analyze results on multiple projects and theses.  

Back in 2011, the first application of FracMan amongst the MG360 group was during Dr. Jonathan Munn’s MSc program. Jon specifically needed DFN software that could handle the varying borehole orientations, plot the fracture data on stereonets, compensate for sampling bias, calculate fracture statistics and ultimately model the fracture network.  

Through longstanding connections with Golder, Director of MG360 and Jon’s then MSc advisor, Dr. Beth Parker, suggested he use FracMan. Since then, FracMan has been used to support the analysis and research of multiple theses, dissertations and publications amongst the institute.  

Some examples of how FracMan has been used to support MG360 research are mentioned below. Four of these examples are from MSc and PhD theses at the University of Guelph, and one is from a recently published journal article. These examples are meant to highlight ways in which our team has used FracMan, and is not intended to be an exhaustive list of FracMan’s capabilities. Some figures are included to demonstrate how FracMan can be used to communicate and conceptualize complex data in clear, and visually appealing ways. More details can be found at the respective reference.  

In 2012, Jonathan Munn completed his MSc Thesis titled High‐resolution discrete fracture network characterization using inclined coreholes in a Silurian dolostone aquifer in Guelph, Ontario. Some examples of how Jon used FracMan v7.4 include:  

  • Calculating linear fracture intensities from a combination of inclined and vertical boreholes 
  • Defining mechanical stratigraphy using cumulative fracture intensity plots  
  • Orientation analysis using structure logs for fracture depth, dip-direction and dip-angle as parameters  
  • Analysis of fracture set distributions using the interactive set identification system (ISIS)  
  • 3D representation of wells and fracture data (Figure 7)

Figure 7: 3-D representations of the three coreholes (MW-25, ACH-01, and ACH-02). (A) represents a plan view of the wells; (B) cross section view looking east; (C) 3-D visualization of well trajectory and fracture orientation data from the acoustic televiewer.” (Munn, 2012) 

In 2015, Andrey Fomenko completed his MSc Thesis titled An Integrated Lithostratigraphic and Geomechanical Conceptualization of Dense Fracture Networks in a Shallow Paleozoic Dolostone. Some examples of how Andrey used Fracman v7.5 include:  

  • Conceptualize a detailed fracture network using three mechanical layers (Figure 6.27) 
  • The creation of FracMan stereonets to analyze fracture distribution for geomechanical units (Figure 6.28) 
  • Statistical analysis of fracture distribution between fracture clusters  
  • Preliminarty 3-D DFN representation of the fracture network at the MG360 Fractured Rock Observatory (FRO)  

Figure 6.27: The DFN model presenting research site fracture network using the FracMan software. The different colors show 6 fracture sets generated separately as it is mentioned in the ISIS statistics in table 5.12.” (Fomenko, 2015)  

“Figure 6.28: Stereonets presenting the fracture distribution at the BAFF (left) and the Guelph Tool (right) research sites. The stereonets include full intervals of three angled and one vertical wells (BAFF GDC-04, 05, 11, and 12; Guelph Tool ACH-01, 02, 03 and MW-25). Schmidt Equal-Area Projection, Lower Hemisphere.” (Fomenko, 2015) 

In 2016, Lucas Andreata Ribeiro completed his MSc Thesis titled Constraining a Discrete Fracture Network static model for the Tunnel City Group sandstones in Cottage Grove-WI using Outcrops and Boreholes. Some examples of how FracMan was used in this thesis include:  

  • Stereonet analysis  
  • Development of a DFN static model to create a three-dimensional DFN simulation (Figure VI-1). 

Figure VI-1: DFN static model presenting adjusted transmissivity values in subvertical joints after matching simulated anisotropy ratios with reference anisotropy ratios (Parker et al. 2016). The bedding plane parallel fractures are represented in yellow reflecting the 1E-5 m2 /s transmissivity assigned in the initial model. Color contrast between subvertical joints and bedding plane parallel fractures reflect the anisotropy ratios adjusted.” (Ribeiro, 2016)  

In 2017, Celia Kennedy completed her PhD Thesis titled Groundwater – Surface Water Interactions in the Discrete Fracture Networks of Bedrock Rivers. Some ways in which Celia used FracMan v7.5 to visualize and conceptualize her data include:  

  • Mapping of horizontal bedding fracture and vertical fractures which terminate the surface of dolostone outcrops (Figure 2.3) 
  • Modelling of surface elevation, overlaid with vertical fracture distribution (Figure 3.6)  
  • Modelling of spatial distribution of groundwater fluxes and vertical hydraulic gradients (Figure 3.11) 
  • Generation of 3-D models conceptualizing the fracture network using fracture log data (Figure C-1) 

Figure 2.3. Location of study reach along the Eramosa River, in Guelph, ON, Canada, which flows in a southeasterly direction, and encompasses a riffle-pool sequence within a river bend. Dolostone outcrops exhibit horizontal bedding fractures and vertical fractures that terminate at surface, which were mapped with FracMan v.7.5 (Golder Associates Inc., Redmond, USA). Spatial distribution of the subset, BSMs 4, 10 and 15, along with river stage gauges (SG1 and SG2) and river piezometers (P3 and P5). [NAD 1983 UTM Zone 17N Geographic Coordinate System; MNR SWOOP 2010; ESRI ArcMap v.10.2.1; FracMan v.7.5].” (Kennedy, 2017) 

“Figure 3.6. Modelled elevation surface (2-D) of study reach, where topographic layer was overlaid with vertical fracture distribution, measured at surface, and constructed with FracMan Software (v.7.5, Golder Associates Inc. – FracMan Technology Group, Redmond, WA, USA). 3-D spatial distribution of the BSMs, identified by number, is represented in this 2-D plane by elevation classifications of shallow (310.50 – 310.63 masl), mid-depth (310.40 – 310.49 masl) and deep (310.30 – 310.39 masl) installations. Contour interval is 310.00 – 311.60 masl. NAD 1983 UTM Zone 17N Geographic Coordinate System.” (Kennedy, 2017)  

Figure 3.11. Spatial distribution of vertical hydraulic gradients (∆ℎ𝑟𝑒𝑙⁄∆𝐿) at high river stage within the contoured elevation model of the study site. Monitoring devices are identified as BSMs () and river piezometers (). Gradients are indicated by value within the device symbol and by colour-ranking. The high-𝑞 zone from Figure 3.9 is delineated by a red line. Refer to Figure 3.6 for BSM ID numbers. [NAD 1983 UTM Zone 17N Geographic Coordinate System; Surfer v.13.6; FracMan v.7.5].” (Kennedy, 2017)  

Fig. C-1. Post-drilling conceptual model of corehole pairs installed to inform the 3-D static fracture model, constructed with FracMan (v.7.5, Golder Associates Inc. – FracMan Technology Group, Redmond, WA, USA).” (Kennedy, 2017)  

In March of 2023 Kenley Bairos, Patrik Quinn, Pete Pehme and Beth Parker published a paper titled Enumerating hydraulically active fractures using multiple, high-resolution datasets to inform plume transport in a sandstone aquifer in the Journal of Hydrology. FracMan was used for multiple purposes including: 

  • Identifying and assigning core-informed OTV fractures to either a bedding parallel set, northeast-southwest striking set or a northwest-southeast striking set (Figure 8) 
  • Statistical analysis to estimate true fracture intensity using the Terzaghi method (Figure 9) 

Figure 8: a) Rose plots comparing the frequency of dip directions observed in the informed and active fractures. b) Rose plots comparing the strike direction of the Sub-Vertical sets (NESW and NWSE striking) of the informed and active fractures c) The relative frequency of the bedding set remains the same in the active set while the joint sets show minor variation between the informed and active fractures.” (Bairos et al., 2023) 

Figure 9: a) Contoured stereonets of the core informed OTV fractures and active fractures show three distinct fracture sets (plotted using the fracture poles). b) The comparison of the uncorrected and corrected fracture frequencies indicates that all three sets were under sampled with the greatest bias occurring in the sub-vertical sets. After the correcting, the NESW set becomes most dominate.” (Bairos et al., 2023) 

FracMan has been an indispensable tool amongst our team for the analysis of fractured network data and the communication of results. If this article has piqued your interest, check out the reference list below or click here to learn more about FracMan and how you can incorporate it into your own research.  


Bairos, K., Quinn, P., Pehme, P., & Parker, B. L. (2023). Enumerating hydraulically active fractures using multiple, high-resolution datasets to inform plume transport in a sandstone aquifer. Journal of Hydrology, 619, 129362. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2023.129362  

Fracman. Golder. (2021, June 22). https://www.golder.com/fracman/ 

Fomenko, A. (2015). An integrated lithostratigraphic and geomechanical conceptualization of dense fracture networks in a shallow Paleozoic dolostone (MSc Thesis). School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. http://hdl.handle.net/10214/8839 

Kennedy, C (2017). Groundwater – Surface Water Interactions in the Discrete Fracture Networks of Bedrock Rivers. (PhD Thesis). School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. http://hdl.handle.net/10214/11488  

Munn, J. (2012). High-resolution discrete fracture network characterization using inclined coreholes in a Silurian Dolostone Aquifer in Guelph, Ontario (MSc Thesis). School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. http://hdl.handle.net/10214/3242  

Ribeiro, L. A. F. S. (2016). Constraining a discrete fracture network static model for the tunnel city group sandstones in Cottage Grove-WI using outcrops and boreholes (MSc Thesis). School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. http://hdl.handle.net/10214/9697 

Morwick G360 Family and Friends Event!

MG360 Alumni, Family and Friends! Come join us next Friday for an inspiring afternoon as we connect and celebrate our shared passion for groundwater research. 🤩

Friday, June 2 from 1-3pm in the Adams Atrium, Thornbrough Building, University of Guelph

We hope to see as many familiar (and new) faces as possible to kick off the ground-breaking of our new research facility!

If you are able to attend, please register here: https://lnkd.in/gjvap4h5

Can’t make it in person? The event will be live streamed here: https://lnkd.in/gjJpPh4U

MG360 in Sweden

MG360 has long standing relationships with Sweden through Lund University and the Swedish Geological Survey (SGU) through collaborative research efforts at multiple field sites, where MG360 have deployed various components of the DFN-M field approach for site characterization.

In 2020, Dr. Beth Parker was awarded the Tage Erlander Visiting Professorship (checkout our January newsletter and this article to read more) which was accompanied by an 8-month sabbatical at Lund University in Lund, Sweden. However, due to Covid-19, this sabbatical was split into two trips, with the first half being in spring of 2022 and the second half during the spring of 2023.  

During the second half of her sabbatical, Dr. Parker taught a 2.5-week intensive PhD-course in Hydrogeological Conceptual Models for Groundwater Use and Protection: Characterization methods and scaling considerations, in the Department of Geology at Lund University, from March 15-31st, 2023.  

This course was designed to lean into hands-on education and incorporate lessons through lectures, field-work demos and real-world experience, case studies and student-led presentations.  

The new cohort of MG360 students, including MSc. students Cindy Li, Calvin Veenkamp, Isabella (Kat) Bowman, and PhD students Rosialine Roedel, Hamidreza Dannak and Jennie Hansson, all attended the short course before setting sails to go in different directions to do their own travelling before returning back to Ontario to continue their studies. 

Dr. Beth Parker and Dr. Charlotte Sparrenbom, from Lund University, spearheaded the short course, with guest lectures and field work supported by MG360 Team members Dr. Peeter Pehme, Dr. Jonathan Munn, Dr. Ferdinando Manna, Dr. Jonathan Kennel, Steven Chapman and Ryan Kroeker. This course came to fruition through collaboration and team efforts from those mentioned above, as well as numerous colleagues and supporters from Lund University, University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University, Uppsala University, the Swedish Geological Survey and KTH Royal Institute of Technology

As part of the Lund graduate course, MG360 helped conduct field demonstrations at two sites that were attended by the students along with participants from industry and regulatory bodies. These included the Raven site in Helsingborg, a former dry cleaner site, where MG360 have been conducting DFN-M investigations with SGU and their consultant Sweco since 2018.

Overall, 17 students from 9 different countries attended this PhD short course. It was an incredible learning opportunity and experience that the students and staff enjoyed and will carry with them throughout their careers. 

Join us May 3, 2023 for this years Darcy Lecture, with Dr. Alicia Wilson

We are excited to announce we will be hosting this years Darcy Lecture on May 3rd from 10:30-12:00pm in Richards 3504, at the University of Guelph.

Dr. Alicia Wilson is a professor of hydrogeology in the School of the Earth, Ocean, and Environment at the University of South Carolina. She has been selected as the 2023 Darcy Distinguished Lecturer by The Groundwater Foundation and the National Ground Water Association

You can read more about Dr. Alicia Wilson and the history of the Darcy Lecture here: https://lnkd.in/gGQgTrK3

This is an in-person event only, and is of course free of charge – no registration required.

We hope to see you there!

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